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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I stopped a cat playing with a bird, but realised the bird wasn't really moving afterwards.

I brought it into the house and placed it in a box, there are no visable injuries.

It is now 60 hours later, Pete as I have named him / her is still with me, he/she is a maturing fledgling I believe, proper feathers down the back, wings & tail with bum fluff feathers for want of a better description on his/her chest.

The problem is he doesn't seem to be able to keep his balance and often whentrying to stand or walk falls over & struggles to right himself.

He is trying to eat, I have laid out water, bird nuts broken into small pieces and wild bird food. He semed to be pecking at all this but not eating anything & I realsied it might be too tough for him, being a youngster so I put down bread pieces & I soaked some in milk but he is still not eating.

He sits very happily on my hand and is OK until he tries to move.

Should I just take him to the vet for the big needle or will he be OK?

Help / advice needed please?

13,047 Posts
The bird sounds week and dehydrated. After 60 hours it may well be too late but you've got to try.
The reason the bird hasn't eatten is because it doesn't know how. Have you seen him drink?

13,047 Posts
Please follow these instructions

Basic LIFE SAVING steps


It is vital to stabilize an ill or injured pigeon or dove as soon as possible after rescue.
Three basic steps should be followed.

A bird must be warmed gradually to a normal body temperature and be responsive (able to swallow). It is not unusual for a baby bird presented for rehabilitation to be very cold. (If a bird is unresponsive, please seek the assistance of an experienced rehabber or avian vet immediately.)

Give the bird a quick, superficial examination. Unless there is a critical situation, e.g., (severe bleeding) all birds should be covered and placed on a heat source* (see below) for at least 20-30 minutes to bring the body temperature back to normal.

If head trauma is suspected, do not place the bird on heat.

Allow the bird to stabilize in a quite, dark, warm area.
While the bird is warming, take the opportunity to prepare any other items you may need to care for the bird, e.g., International Rehydrating Solution (recipe noted below)


Fluids should be given after, and ONLY AFTER, the bird has been warmed, examined for any injuries & a determination is made as to the severity of his dehydration.
All fluids should be warmed or at room temperature!

Description and degrees, of hydrated and dehydrated birds
A well hydrated bird will be very alert, have elastic skin, bright eyes, moist, plump membrane inside the mouth and well formed moist droppings.

A moderately dehydrated bird will be less than fully alert, have dry, flaky skin, dull eyes, non-formed droppings and have a sticky membrane in the mouth.

A severely dehydrated bird will be lethargic or unconscious, the skin will 'tent' when slightly pinched, have sunken eyes, dry or absent droppings and have dry membrane in the mouth.

Depending on the cause and degree of dehydration, reversing this condition can take up to 24 hours. If the bird is alert, he may be rehydrated by mouth, using an eye dropper and putting drops along his beak every few minutes, making sure the fluids are room temperature or warmed slightly. Initially, a rehydrating solution should be administered. Plain water should not be given unless nothing else is available.

If the bird is not swallowing on his own or fully alert, he must be given fluids under the skin (sub-Q method).
WARNING!! This procedure should only be performed by an experienced rehabber or vet.

Please follow these simple, basic, yet most important steps.
The cells of the body simply don't work properly when dehydrated. Absolutely no digestive processes can take place if the gut CAN'T work. Absorption will not take place, food sits in the gut, undigested, and will eventually kill the bird.

* Heat source suggestions:
Towel lined heating pad, set on low
Towel lined hot water bottle
Low wattage lamp, directing the light into the cage.

* Emergency heat source substitute:
Fill an old sock about 2/3 full of rice. Microwave the sock for a few seconds. Making sure it isn't too hot, place it around the bird.

* International Rehydrating Solution:
To a cup of warm water add a pinch of salt & sugar, mix well. Use this solution to rehydrate by mouth.

* Emergency rehydrating substitute:
Pedialyte, unflavored.

By following these basic steps you have done your best to stabilize your little feathered patient until further assistance is available.

A Pigeon's Dream

13,047 Posts
After the above, do this...

You can hand feed defrosted corn and peas. Run some hot water over them until they are defrosted and slightly warmed. Put the bird on your lap and hold it next to your body. I f it helps, you can wrap a towel around it or put it in the sleeve of a tee shirt, with the head out the wrist. That confines them without hurting them and makes it easier to handle. Gently open the beak and pop the piece of corn and peas at the back of the mouth and over the throat. You will need to feed 40-50 per feeding and every time the bird’s crop empties until you know it is eating on their own.
This is a wonderful method for teaching babies to eat because they feel the whole food in their mouth and it’s soft and easy to pick up and hang on to. The next step… seeds.
The crop is located right below the throat and with food it fills up like a little balloon. The peas and corn make it lumpy and squishy

A picture would be helpful. Are there any puncture marks or scratches from the cat?

Premium Member
9,476 Posts
Can you give us a location. I assume you are in the UK. It is just possble, but no means certain, there could be a rescue faclity in the general area.


11,336 Posts
It is not too late to help him.

Please make up the International Rehydrating solution, for that you mix 1/2 pint warm water with 1/2 dessertspoon glucose, or honey or sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Dip his beak in the mixture while he is still warm. The glucose will be absorbed quickly and help him get to the state where he can digest the peas.

It is important that you give him the rehydrating solution a few hours before feeding him anything solid.

Put him on a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel so that it is warm to the touch. He cannot afford to lose energy trying to generate body heat.
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